Asian Americans gathered outside the Supreme Court on Thursday to celebrate the court’s landmark ruling against affirmative action in college admissions.

The decisions in Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College and a companion case, Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. University of North Carolina, held that race-based admissions at colleges are unconstitutional.

The UNC case was decided 6-to-3, while the Harvard ruling was 6-to-2, with Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson recusing herself because she had served on a board at Harvard. 

“What we saw displayed today was an attempt by special-interest groups to silence the brave voices of Asian American families and community members,” said Asra Nomani, co-founder of the Coalition for TJ, a group dedicated to fighting race-based discrimination at the highly regarded Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County, Virginia. “They didn’t succeed. We are grit personified. These are families that have fled persecution, injustice, inequality, and so much challenge. Just think that these immigrant families came with not one privilege in the United States of America. Most of these families came only with the clothes on their back, and we aren’t going to be silenced by anyone. And today’s victory reveals what persistence means.”

Eva Guo, a former board director of Students for Fair Admissions, the triumphant plaintiffs in the two cases, said that “it is not right to use affirmative action as a tool to abuse certain ethnic groups to favor others.”

Asian American students have taken the lead in championing the elimination of affirmative action in higher education since it has been shown to hurt their chances of admission.

Eva Guo and Yukong Mike Zhao celebrate the Supreme Court’s twin decisions Thursday against affirmative action in university admissions. (Photo: Elise McCue/Daily Signal)

Standing opposite the group of Asian Americans were students protesting Thursday’s rulings. Many of those students referred to the Asian Americans supporting the court’s actions as “elders” and dismissed them by saying they aren’t in college or claiming they had never gone through the college-admission process.

The Daily Signal spoke with a number of the opponents of the Supreme Court’s decision. Many expressed the sentiments that diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs were very important to them in their college decision process, and they think Thursday’s rulings are going to put DEI education at risk.

“I can’t say much, because I know this is my community’s doing,” said Edith Phillips, 20, an Asian American student at Tufts University who nonetheless supports affirmative action. “I want to tell my community to have a little bit of empathy for our black and [Hispanic] peers.”

Yukong Mike Zhao, president of the Asian American Coalition for Education, a nonprofit national alliance dedicated to exposing anti-Asian discrimination in the Ivy League, said the message he wants the protesters to understand is that “going forward, our Asian American children will not be treated as second-class citizens.”

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